While at 4AD, label chief Ivo Watts-Russell suggested that Ayuli and Tambala team with roster mates Martyn and Steven Young of Colourbox
, champion mixer Chris "C.J." Mackintosh
, and London DJ Dave Dorrell to record a single fusing the rhythms and beats of classic soul recordings with state-of-the-art electronics and production. Dubbing the collaboration M/A/R/R/S
, the resulting single, "Pump Up the Volume" -- a breakthrough effort heralding sampling's gradual absorption from hip-hop into dance music and ultimately the pop mainstream -- soon topped the British charts, the first 4AD release ever to accomplish the feat. Plans for a M/A/R/R/S
follow-up never materialized, however, and A.R. Kane again picked up stakes, moving on to Rough Trade to begin work on their much-anticipated full-length debut.
The resulting album, 1988's 69, fulfilled all the promise of A.R. Kane's earlier work and more; cosmic yet funky, its liquid grooves immersed in waves of ecstatic noise, the record's mastery of atmosphere and mood -- in tandem with its nearly formless songs -- establish it as a clear antecedent not only of the nascent shoegazer sound but also much of the underground dance music to emerge in the years to follow. The duo's double-LP follow-up, 1989's i, was even more impressive in its scope, breathlessly veering from melodic dance-pop to eerie drone-rock to epic dub mosaics. And then...nothing: only three years later did the next A.R. Kane LP, Americana -- a handful of new tracks combined with past highlights -- appear on the Luaka Bop label. By the time of a proper follow-up, 1994's New Clear Child, the moment had clearly passed. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi